Tablets To Drive Mobile Broadband Growth
Tablets are expected to make up a large majority of all mobile broadband connections in the United States over the next two years, according to a new report from the NPD Group. By the end of 2015, NPD expects the number of active mobile broadband devices to reach 34 million, a nearly 50% increase from 2013 and predicted that two-thirds of those devices will be tablets.
According to the study, tablets currently account for 40% of mobile broadband connections. With the decline of USB modems and mobile hotspots, carriers will need to boost adoption of the connected tablet. The analysts also predict that the price of tablets with embedded cellular connectivity should rapidly decline in the coming months.
USB modems were the primary mobile broadband devices until the end of 2012, driven largely by demand from enterprise users. While standalone mobile hotspots gained popularity in 2011 and 2012, both devices saw substantial declines over the year as more consumers began using the hotspot features on their tablets and smartphones, said the study.
“Tablets are the next subscriber battleground for the carriers,” said NPD analyst Brad Akyuz adding that decline in ASPs, coupled with the intensified pricing competition, will further boost connected tablet adoption in the coming years.
A recent report by ABI Research also forecasts a huge tablet shipment this year. “Sales of tablets will be driven by enterprise consumers with 30 million of these devices to be used in the workplace. This represents one fifth of all tablets shipped in the same time period,” it says.
The scenario in India is somewhat different. An IDC release last month predicts that tablet computers market will remain flat in 2014 as the government mandate on Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification along with the growing popularity of phablets is likely to obstruct the growth in the tablet category. In 2012, the market had shown a growth of 900%, albeit from a smaller base. The overall India tablet shipments for 2013 stood at 4.14 million units, a growth of 56% over 2012.
“The popularity of phablets has crossed over the demand for 7-inch tablets,” said Karan Thakkar, senior market analyst with IDC. He states that first-time users latching onto such devices are now looking to move to products that offer better experience in terms of life span and quality.
However, the report added that there has been an uptake in the adoption of tablets amongst commercial users in industries such as financial services, healthcare, media and education amongst others. In countries such as India, Indonesia, and Thailand, where elections are also holding back the growth. it further says that tablet market is likely to boom in the next 2-3 years and will drive broadband penetration in the countries.
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